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American grocers’ 2011 innovation awards

America’s Grocery Manufacturers Association announced its 2011 CPG Awards for Innovation and Creativity at its Executive Conference this week – honoured were General Mills and Batter Blaster.

“Both winners demonstrated a unique execution of originality and resourcefulness that benefits not only the demand of the consumers, but the industry as a whole,” said AMC chairman, Gregory Smith, global lead partner of KPMG, in a statement.

General Mills was recognised for its use of an Oat Hulls Biomass Burner that burns oat hulls left over from the milling process to produce about 90% of the steam needed to heat the plant and produce oat flour for Cheerios.

“Our biomass burner addressed two compelling business needs — saving money and reducing our footprint on the environment for years to come,” said General Mills chairman and CEO Ken Powell. “We’ve sharpened our focus on building sustainability into every step, from seed to spoon, and this project is one of the most recent and visible successes from this journey.”

Austin, Texas-based Batter Blaster was recognised for creating a whole new category with its ready-to-cook pancake and waffle batter in a pressurised can. Offering four different batter flavours for 90 calories or less per serving, Batter Blaster found its in-store destination on retail shelves through line extensions, product demonstrations, event marketing, social media and word of mouth, according to GMA.

“We’ve learned that innovation takes guts and that it’s not the path of least resistance. It requires massive changes in consumer behaviour and the education and awareness to gain that mindshare. But innovation can change even the oldest of categories. Ready-to-make pancake mix has been on store shelves since 1931; Batter Blaster is still shaking up that category 80 years later, adding new consumers and growth to a typically traditional category,” said the company’s founder and CEO, Sean O’Connor.

O’Connor developed the novel concept of Batter Blaster in his home kitchen. Despite a small team and limited resources, and utilising creative marketing initiatives, Batter Blaster created a new category of refrigerated, ready to cook pancake and waffle batters. Batter Blaster’s first flavour, Organic Original, was introduced to US grocery stores in 2007.

Even in the recent economic climate, the brand quickly grew in popularity, drawing thousands of “fanatical” fans. This prompted the expansion of the company’s staff and the development of three new flavours – Organic Whole Wheat, Double Chocolate and Buttermilk – which were launched in 2011 and can be found in grocery stores nationwide.

Batter Blaster won the Division A category for manufacturers with total sales below $3 billion.

Batter Blaster:

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